When the Mets and Mariners met up for the second game of a three game series, the night began under unfavorable conditions. Rain had been sweeping through the New York Tri-State area all afternoon, and the 7:05 first pitch was delayed a whole hour and eight minutes. And throughout the contest the threat of rain, and an ever present rolling fog stood over Citi Field like a haze.
And nobody seemed to care. The fans came in droves, most of them sitting there waiting, and waiting and waiting for something big to happen. One guy even fell asleep in the arms of his wife or girlfriend, an image that was captured by SNY’s cameras long enough to become a Twitter meme. Maybe he got tired of doing the wave?
And for most of the night it was a struggle to sit through. Mets starter Chris Bassitt was great, but he couldn’t get on the same page with catcher Pat Mazeika, whom the Mets called up to fill the void left by James McCann, who is out six weeks with a hamaet bone injury to his left hand.
Time after time, the two of them were crossed up. And time after time, somehow, someway Bassitt found a way out of danger.
In the top of the first inning alone, Bassitt hit J.P. Crawford, walked Eugenio Suarez, and walked Jessie Winker — all with two out mind you. And as Bassitt and Mazeika met at the mound to discuss their problems agreeing on what pitch to put down, Suarez was caught leaning too far off second base and was tagged out by Jeff McNeil.
And wouldn’t you know it, the original call was that Suarez was safe?! So the Mets challenged it, and won the challenge. On a hazy night with fog and rain, and an umpire talking over a loud speaker to fans about overturning a call gave the moment a football on a damp October night feel. Yep, it was that kinda night. And it was only the top of the first inning!
The Mets would eventually scratch out a run in the bottom of the first inning when Francisco Lindor lined a single up the middle with nobody covering second base to drive in Starling Marte, who had tripled in the at-bat prior to Lindor’s hit. 1-0 Mets.
It stayed that way until the third inning as the Mets struggled to mount much offense against New York native George Kirby, who had his own legion of supporters in the stands. Talk about adding another element to this wild night.
Kirby, who grew up a Yankees fan and attended high school in Rye, New York pitched well against the Mets. His parents, friends and relatives were all in the stands cheering him on — and it was audible even on television. Kirby pitched well enough. He held the Mets to three runs, and left after four innings and 89 pitches.
The Mets were able to tack on against Kirby in that aforementioned third inning on a pair of sac fly’s by Lindor and Jeff McNeil. In fact McNeil’s sac fly that drove in Marte to make it 3-0 will probably be best remembered for Steven Souza Jr.’s incredible back to home plate catch against a chain-link fence in right.
So the Mets are up 3-0, and eventually up 4-0 on Pete Alonso’s RBI double in the fifth. Ball game over, right? Wrong!
The issues between Bassitt and Mazeika continued into the sixth inning. They just couldn’t get on the same page. Bassitt hit Suarez and walked Winker … again! As Bassitt kept shaking off Mazeika, and Buck Schowalter was becoming more visible irritable with every pitch, Bassitt somehow struck out Julio Rodriguez swinging, and struckout Mike Ford looking to give himself an opportunity to pull a Houdini Act and get out of the inning.
Pitch number 108 said otherwise as Steven Souza blooped a single to left to drive in a run to chase a perturbed Bassitt from the mound with the Mets leading 4-1.
If getting consistently crossed up didn’t annoy Bassitt enough, he couldn’t have liked what he saw in the top of the seventh. Seth Lugo gave up base hits to Crawford and Suarez, forcing Showalter to remove him from the game in favor of Chasen Shreve, a lefty to face the left-handed Winker.
Jesse Winker saluted the Citi Field crowd as he crossed home plate: pic.twitter.com/BAvhv3Sz8Q— SNY (@SNYtv) May 15, 2022
Shreve proceeded to fall behind 3-1 before serving up a meatball that Winker smashed into the upper deck at Citi Field for a three-run homer, tying the game at four. Winker, a former Cincinnati Red, who has enjoyed taunting Mets fans in the past waved at fans as he made his way back to the third base dugout.
But as is the case with baseball it can be the great redeemer when you least expect it. In the bottom of the seventh of a tied game, Mazeika — the same guy who couldn’t get Chris Bassitt to agree on any pitch seemingly all night, took the first pitch he saw from Andres Munoz and deposited it into the right field bleachers for a solo home run.
Just like that it was Mets 5 – Mariners 4.
After Adam Ottavino delivered a nice bounce back effort for himself with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, Edwin Diaz — the former Seattle Mariners closer, traded to the Mets back in 2018 for Jared Kelenec, came into the ball game. There had to be some butterflies for Diaz. As the fog grew thicker at Citi Field and rain steadier, Diaz blanked his old team by striking out the side in the ninth, including getting Winker to swing and miss on a 100 mph four-seam fastball, the eighth pitch of the at bat.
Diaz pumped his fist. The Mets won one of their most wild games of the season.
EDWIN DÍAZ STRIKES OUT THE SIDE AGAINST HIS FORMER TEAM!— SNY (@SNYtv) May 15, 2022
METS WIN 5-4! pic.twitter.com/jylHF4TTk3